Free Thinkers

By Mike Willis

In recent years, we have read about the establishment of “free churches” among us as those infected with the grace-unity heresy crystallize into a movement to the point that they divide local congregations over their doctrines. It has always been paradoxical to me that this unity movement believes in unity so much that they will divide churches to show how much they believe in unity. Those who pull out start what they call “free churches.” They act as if they alone, of all the brethren among us, are the only free thinkers that exist. Regarding some “free-thinkers” of his day, Alexander Campbell wrote,

For Free-thinkers are not more free from prejudice and passion, from enthusiasm and infatuation, than those whom they denounce as dupes and impostors. With many of them, a Free-thinker is one who is free to form opinions as despots enact laws; free to assert and to decide, not only without, but even against reason and well established testimony. Those who are not so free in these respects, they rank amongst impostors and dupes (The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. I, p. 514).

The “free-thinkers” of today are no different from the “free-thinkers” of his day. They feel free to oppose those of us who call sin by its proper name (e.g., they have no opposition to those who divided the church by bringing instrumental music, sponsoring churches, recreation and institutionalism into the worship, work, and organization of the churches, but they stand opposed to those of us who call these things sin); they feel free to fellowship sin; they feel free to offer hope to the pious unimmersed; they feel free to offer hope to the man whose course of life involves habitual walking in darkness and the defense of the sin which he is committing (e.g., instrumental music in worship, the sponsoring church arrangement, recreation sponsored by the church, and institutionalism). My brethren, if this is the kind of freedom which they mean when they call themselves “free-thinkers,” I shall remain content to not be known as a free thinker. They remind me of the “free-thinkers” of Peter’s day whom he described as follows: “while they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2 Pet. 2:19).

Truth Magazine XXII: 29, p. 473
July 27, 1978